27 September, Cabo de Gata

Once more, Dave Elliott-Binns comes up trumps before going on happy (I hope) hols. for a couple of weeks. I shall have to extract digits and get out birding myself.... Interesting that Dave turned up Bluethroat, as I had one myself on La Janda and also the bird in my garden. Perhaps we are in for another Bluethroat winter?

Continuing with my search for the Slender-billed Curlew, I headed down to Cabo de Gata with Joe, a holidaying birder. The weather was cool and cloudy so no problem with heat haze for a change. We arrived at the first hide and scanned the water in front of us. All the usual suspects were out on view : Greater Flamingo, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit (83 for day), Avocet, Ringed and Kentish Plovers and Dunlin. I spotted a group of large birds far down the left hand side. Black Storks! First time I'd seen them here. The number kept increasing from the initial 7 as more wandered into view from behind a bank until eventually there were 11.
A female Marsh Harrier flew by and it was seen later with another one sitting on the left hand scrubland. I spotted a wader fly in and land out of view behind a small island. After about 20 minutes it had come into view. A Snipe.

A group of warblers passed through the bushes in front of the hide. Subalpine Warbler and Whitethroat. I saw one Eurasian Curlew on their usual sandy "beach" to the right.

A short seawatch from the beach revealed a couple of Gannets and a pair of Mediterranean Shearwater (does he mean Balearic?. Just off the beach were some Northern Wheatears. We made our way to the second hide. There wasn't much to add to our list on the water, only Slender-billed Gull, but the savanna surrounding the hide had a steady stream of migrants passing by : a Pied Flycatcher, 3 Common Redstarts, Blackcap. The star was a Bluethroat.

The public hide didn't produce much so we commenced our journey round the rear of the reserve. Picked up Little Stint (not STINK as I typed in last weeks report! - I put it right -A) and Greenshank. There were two female Montagu's Harriers, one of which had a large yellow wing tag but unfortunately, as much as I tried, I was unable to see any ID numbers.A Peregrine Falcon was on one of the pylons. Joe then spotted a group of large birds soaring to gain height, the Black Storks, 14 in total. The smaller migrants included a juvenile Woodchat Shrike, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. The resident Spectacled Warblers were also observed.
51 species, another cracking day.

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